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Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by mashgear on 2012-12-17 14:18:20.2930

I have been reading all of the posts on replacing the bridge on a Variax 300 with a LR Baggs or Graphtech tune-o-matic. I'm just about to start this project myself. I want to understand the wiring in the current 300 bridge before I invest in a new piezo tune-o-matic. I notice that the connector to the bridge has eight wires coming out of it. The outside two wires are black. So I assume that the inside 6 go to each of the 6 piezo pickups. Are the two outside black wires not used? Are they grounds? Do they connect to anything on the bridge? Thanks for any help you can offer. --Alan

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by amx05462 on 2012-12-18 06:48:05.5910

the  two black wires  ground  the pcb to the  main board. the current  pickups   have one wire   eachto the  pcb under the bridge  plate.  the current  pickups  contact ground to the bridge  plate   through there  metal case. to the  saddle   to the  bridge  plate  with the  pressure  of  the  tuned  spring.

  just curous..  why  go to  a tunomatic  when the  guitar is already setup like  a strat..

also  id take  into consideration that   the tunomatic   may very  well sit too high  for the   guitar even when bottomed  out.

and the  current   setup is  more  versatile    when it comes  to making  ajustments

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by mashgear on 2012-12-19 04:55:11.7150

Thanks. That helps. So there's a mounting screw connecting the bridge PCB to the current bridge. Can I just connect the ground wire for the new tune-o-matic pickups to that screw or do I have to splice it directly to the two black ground wires headed to the main board?

I'm putting on a Bigsby B5 trem, so I need the tune-o-matic. Understand about the bridge height. I plan on routing out the bridge cavity in the guitar body a little to lower the tune-o-matic. I have two Variax's: a 500 and a 300, so this is my Variax to experiment with.

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by mashgear on 2012-12-19 05:11:59.0740

Okay, I think I found the answer to this on another post... the ground on the tune-o-matic goes to the mounting screw on the bridge PCB. Thanks again for your help.

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by amx05462 on 2012-12-19 08:28:41.6190

yes  thats  correct. you have to remember that  the  screw  also grounds  the bridge  plate as well  to the  main board.    not  sure    if youll have to run a ground  to the bigsby as in a conventinal  guitar .. might  not  hurt to just do that..

lol  its a funy coincidence  that   i transplanted  my variax   and other things  into  an epiphone dot... and  put  a  fender  style  trem on the dot   rather than  have to buythe tune o matic...   i had  already invested  in the  graphtech pickups  for the  300..

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by mashgear on 2012-12-19 10:18:21.4670

Okay, one last concern... string noise from the Graphtech bridge piezo's when the Bigsby is used. Do you think that will be a problem? I've read that the Graphtech string contact points are teflon impregnated. That's good. But I get string noise on my 500 from just moving barre chords up and down the fretboard (switching to flatwound strings helped that problem). I'd hate to set this whole thing up and get scrapping string noise every time I used the Bigsby. Know anyone who's actually tried this? Thanks again for words of wisdom.

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by amx05462 on 2012-12-19 13:03:49.9780

i dont  have  and answer   on that one  . as  i said   i  set mine  up with a  fender  style tremelo.

  the strings  move  withthe  saddles  not  over.   anything  iv used a bigsby on  has a roller  nut  and roller   bridge.    .  were i to take a guess  id  say  the  wound strings  will give  you a problem. also   because  graphtech   has  there  pickups  embeded  in composit.    id think you  would  have a wear factor to deal with  down  the road. vs  lr baggs   having  the metal case. 

  but i found the  graphtech response  to be   much  better  and  more  even.. 

  id  guess   that if  you dive bomb  then you could  have   a noise  problem  if  you  just  use the bigsby  to  add   slight  tremelo  then   with  flat  wounds  you should  be  ok.. again  ive  never   had  to deal  with that on a variax.

Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by mashgear on 2013-01-06 11:11:51.0610

Thanks for all of the group support on this project. See the attached. It came out great. I had to shim the neck a little. But the Graphtech and Bigsby sound great. Looks cool too IMHO. I think I'm also going to swap out the tuners for locking Schallers.


Re: Replacing the Bridge on a Variax 300
by TheRealZap on 2013-01-06 14:43:58.0940

i put the planet wave autotrims on mine... they're locking and great!

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